Success Follows Learning and Doing

Written by Connor Boyack.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

This is a message I try to convey when speaking to teenagers. It’s intimidating, this grown up stuff. Adults do a lot of adulting. That seems daunting. And they think we’ve got it figured out.

Fact is, I don’t.

For example, I’m now the CEO of a successful non-profit making a huge impact on people’s lives for the better.

I didn’t learn how to do that in school. I didn’t study it in a book. I didn’t have a mentor to hold my hand along the way.

Every day has presented challenges. I figure them out to the best of my ability. I ask questions, or I pretend like I already know the answer. I move forward, rather than sit still. I experiment, innovate, and don’t assume that others know what they’re doing, or that I should follow them.

I didn’t earn a degree in non-profit management. I didn’t research this field extensively before entering it.

And yet, somehow, it’s worked. I’ve learned. We’ve had success. Many have been impressed. (Many have also been angry… #sorrynotsorry)

The point is, the world is a crazy place and your life trajectory may take a number of different turns. Entire industries now dominate the market that didn’t exist two decades ago—and the pioneers moving those areas forward didn’t learn what they now do in school, because it didn’t even exist back then.

This truth is quite reassuring for those in the rising generation, I think, because if there’s one thing we adults are good at, it’s pretending like we know what we’re doing.

Quite often, we don’t.

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